The thought of writing a post seemed exhausting until now. I’ve been caught up and run down. It’s been a long, long time since I last wrote for myself and I’ve really missed it!
I have exciting news, though: I’ve only gone and got myself a job! I’m assistant editor for a national magazine, here in India. I love the magazine. I love being a part of it and somehow, I dreamed it and it happened.
I’ve also had some freelancing work come my way, I mean genuine, paid freelancing work and I loved doing that too. It’s been a little bit of a revolution. I’m a teacher, turned writer and soon, if I work hard enough, wish hard enough, I’ll be a novelist too.
The down side is, that my head is buzzing but my brain needs to catch up. I’m feeling my age, I’m feeling rusty. I’m creaking when I’m supposed to be a well oiled efficiency machine. Not good. I’m getting there though and the children are getting used to me not being at home until late. I must be getting used to it too, otherwise, I would not have had the energy to sit and write the post.
Calcutta is a different place, when you’re working. I’ve had to do the morning commute on a local bus, and when I got on the wrong bus (wrong route) I realised that it was not as simple as just catching the right bus the next time. You’ve got to be stubborn to catch a bus. You’ve got to be able to stand in the Calcutta sun, braving the dust and the pollution and the strange looks as you wield an umbrella, a stylish laptop bag and a bottle of water (the bottle of water won’t fit in the bag). Then you’ve actually got to get on the bus. Quickly. You do all this as the conductor assures you you’re heading the right direction, “just hurry up, madam and close that bloomin’ umbrella!” he says.
Then you’ve got to be prepared be pushed and cajoled to move up until you cannot move up any more. If you’re unlucky enough not to get a seat, as I was TWICE, you’ve got to be prepared to play that awful game of sardines. (The conductor just won’t say no to anyone wanting to catch a bus, ANY BUS!) The scent of the freshly showered does not last long and soon you are assaulted with the odour of the commute; sweat and heat, frustration and boredom (in my case, FEAR)
Catching a yellow cab is the next best option or your ‘other’ option. But be prepared to sometimes be ripped off. The drivers are supposed to go on the meter and they’re not supposed to refuse a fare. However, I found that sometimes, if it’s in the evening and they sense desperation, they’ll ask for a fare that’s over the normal fare, saying that they’ll have to travel back with an empty cab from where I want to be dropped off.
Yes, I’m experiencing Calcutta a little differently now. The shops could do with opening a little earlier, so I can get things done and it would be handy if I had my own transport, instead of having to car share (or face the challenge of public transport) with my husband. But all in all, it’s been pretty great so far!